There are very few people for whom I can tell you the date we met. Friend Mark is one of them.
On Sunday, September 12, 1971, my parents dropped me off at the State University College at New Paltz (NY). There was a meal in the basement of Bliss Hall, and I met Mark while standing in line.
We discovered we were both staying at Scudder Hall, he in 110, me in B2. We hung out in each other’s room a lot that year. He would perch on his desk like Snoopy sometimes did on his doghouse, looking like a vulture.
The next night at a mixer, he introduced me to his high school friend, the Okie, who I would marry.
I discovered he collected comic books. For a time, I thought this was strange, but eventually, I started buying my own at the convenience store in nearby Highland. Eventually, we frequented the Crystal Cave, an actual comic book store in downtown New Paltz, where we met future FantaCo dudes Raoul Vezina and Tom Skulan.
In the spring and fall of 1972, he and I went to several antiwar demonstrations in New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, and New York City. He was part of the auto brigade that tried to block the New York State Thruway; I was in his car. He was present when I got arrested in May.
At least once, he tried to teach me to drive on that same Thruway stretch between New Paltz and Kingston, but he said it was a terrifying experience.
He and his then-girlfriend MK52 were in the car on August 22, 1974, when the Okie, by then my wife, chastised me for the 110 miles (177 km) from New Paltz to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center when we were going to see Joni Mitchell.
I was the best man at his October 1976 marriage to MK52. When I was adrift in late 1977, I ended up staying at their apartment in Schenectady, NY, from December 1977 to March 1978.
In the early 1980s, Mark worked part-time as a bartender. This helped him to appreciate sports and dance music far more than he did when I first met him.
He, along with his cousin Lawrence, started a Mid-Winter tradition almost every February for decades, usually at Mark’s or his friend Barry’s house. The photo is from an event a few years ago. I’ve been to at least two dozen of them over the years.
Mark was a groomsman in my final marriage in May 1999, despite hating wearing a tux. For the record, he looked nice.
In the buildup to the Iraq war, there were massive antiwar demonstrations in over 600 cities all over the world on February 15, 2003. I came down on a bus from Albany to New York City, where between 100,000 and 500,000 people showed up. Somehow, I ran into Mark and his child, who had come down from the Mid-Hudson.
Friend Mark and I see each other regularly; generally, he drives up to Albany from the Mid-Hudson. We talk and solve the problems of the world in a few hours.
There’s undoubtedly other stuff I’ve either forgotten or do not wish to incriminate one or both of us.